VOICE OF THE SPIRIT
The Gospel of the South Review - ChristianMusic.com
John Carter Cash Albums

john carter cash

MISSION and GOAL STATEMENT:

To present Gospel Music from the South, where the listener can hear the small, still voice of the Spirit from within.

"Listen to the tiny voice inside, my mom always told me. In creating this project, I have found that voice, at times, speaks through a song or lyric of heartfelt inspiration. It is there, if you listen.....The Voice of the Spirit."

John Carter Cash

John 14:16, 17 - "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Councilor to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth."

2nd Cor. 5:5 - "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

Col. 3:16 - "Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

 

OVERVIEW OF VOICE OF THE SPIRIT: THE GOSPEL OF THE SOUTH CD

CD Producer John Carter Cash explains on the CD insert, "When I began to put this project together, my initial idea was to create a body of work collectively inspired and dedicated to Appalachian Gospel Music, but then the project took on a life of its own."

Using a variety Gospel music selections from the South, John Carter Cash and friends gathered, performed and created a remarkable collection of 13 well-done, inspiring musical compositions in the state of the art Cash Cabin Studio, which not only offer a truly delightful, uplifting, and most enjoyable listening experience, but also feeds the Spirit within, encouraging the believer to persevere in one's walk with the Lord, and offering Jesus to people who are seekers as well.

For John Carter Cash accomplished what he set out to do: Produce a collection of traditional Gospel songs, originating from the southern part of the United States, in which the listener can hear with an open heart, the voice of the Holy Spirit, offering comfort, encouragement and hope not only in our daily walk with Jesus, but with struggles, temptations and losses.

It is not surprising then the quality of instrumental and vocal performances heard in these 13 songs, is impressive, due to the heartfelt efforts and enthusiasm of artists that John Carter Cash recruited for this wonderful CD, and the efforts of the production staff as well.

What a group of artists which shared and contributed their considerable talents to this energetic album!

At the invitation of John Carter Cash, (son of the late Johnny Cash and June Carter), to participate in this labor of love, up and coming Country & Gospel music artists and established, honored Bluegrass, Country, Black Gospel and Southern Gospel artists in their own right as well, came together to enthusiastically participate in John Carter Cash's marvelous project. Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Connie Smith, Mavis Staples, Marty Stewart, Earl Scruggs and Randy Scruggs, John Cowan, Tony Rice, Del and Ronnie McCoury, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Vince Gill, Max Wiseman and Larry Gatlin, all came on board.

The Cash family also added their musical gifts to this labor of love. Johnny Cash, John Carter Cash, and his wife Laura Cash also contributed musically and vocally to this Spirit-moving effort as well. In 2003, before he died, Johnny Cash recorded UNCLOUDED DAY a moving rendition for this project, which is a wonderful addition to the album. Also, one of Johnny Cash's songs, OVER THE NEXT HILL WE'LL BE HOME was performed beautifully by Connie Smith on this CD.

It is no wonder that Cash's project took on a life of its own, not only because of the amount of Spirit-filled talent involved, but also because of the songs chosen. In the beginning, John Carter Cash began his research, first looking at the library of songs performed by his mother's family, including songs composed by his great uncle, A.P.Carter. As his search for songs continued, He soon discovered music from lesser known artists which were "just as touching and beautiful as any penned by my great uncle, A.P. Carter."

Needless to say, John Carter Cash had a variety of song suggestions up for consideration, which he planned to run by the artists who would record them. Because some of these artists had their own ideas on songs they would like to perform as well, the recording experience became a personal meaningful effort which surely shows in their memorable performances.

John Carter Cash's only requirement was stated in the CD cover; "All the songs have the characteristic of having 'simple instrumentation,' with the focus on the vocals and the message within," which creates music that has Southern Gospel characteristics, so nicely explained by Rob Patz of sgmradio.com, when asked by ChristianMusic.com.

 

Rob Patz shared,"Southern Gospel music always has been known for its tight harmony, power ballads, and fast convention songs. The production of Southern Gospel Music is usually more focused on vocals and lyrics than musicianship. More effort is spent to relay the emotion and intent of the song through the vocals rather than using instrumentation to set a mood or feeling."

After the artists and the songs were matched, the next step was the actual recording of all these talented artists. In the Cash Cabin Studio, John Carter Cash recorded the various artists capturing on digital the clean, lively, simple or full, acoustic ensemble accompaniment sound, with a piano added for three other songs {OVER THE NEXT HILL WE'LL BE HOME (Tony Harrell), WE SHALL OVERCOME (Steve Cox) & AIN'T NO GRAVE GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN-piano only (Paul T. Kwami). The accompaniment provided by experienced, talented, inspired musicians, paired with the harmonious vocals of gifted, Spirit-filled artists, certainly bring to life these varied 13 classic Gospel songs from the South, in a way that is truly uplifting and meaningful for the listener.

Concerning the vocal performances - WOW! These selections of Bluegrass / Christian Country / Gospel Blues / Classic chestnut Southern Gospel songs, are surely blessed with a group of Spirit-filled, strong, fervent, expressive and dynamic tenors (Max Wiseman, John Cowan, Vince Gill, Larry Gatlin, Jon Randall, Del & Ronnie McCoury) as well as three equally talented women (Connie Smith, Mavis Staples & Laura Cash) with strong vocal gifts, and the ability to express them, who truly put their own faith and heart for the Lord into their performances. Also heartening are the vocal ensembles of The Mighty Clouds of Joy who long have been legends in Black Gospel and The Fisk Jubilee Singers, a choral group who are known for their performances of Spirituals, offering fine music from the younger generation! The vocal performances without fail catch the mood and message of the songs, presenting them with the Holy Spirit very much evident in each and every one!

Let's talk about the southern harmony sound heard in these songs! - Especially enjoyable are the dynamic duets with flawless harmonies (Jessi & Jon, Laurie & Larry, Del & Ronnie) and the ensemble full harmony sound (Fisk Jubilee Singers & The Mighty Clouds of Joy), harmonies found distinctly in Southern Gospel music, which has always been fascinating to me, as a music enthusiast.

Not only are the vocal performances inspiring, but the "simple instrumentation"(???) of the acoustic talent and other instruments are equally Spirit-filled and most enjoyable to soak in, experiencing an uplifting of the soul, as the listener hears the voice of the Spirit, not only from the vocals, but also from the musical accompaniment. While it is true that the main stars and emphasis of these songs are the vocal performances and the lyrical messages, which shine always center stage, the arrangements are full of delicate inner voices, counter melodies as well as well-played melody support.

Even in the songs where there is only one or two guitarists, the accompaniment is truly reflective of the talent and experience of the player(s) (Ronnie and Del McCoury, Marty Stewart, Tony Rice, Vince Gill & Tom Britt). The wonderful additions of Laura Cash's fiddle and the lively mandolin (Jessie McReynolds, Marty Stewart, Ronnie McCoury) added sparkle and flavor to the musical mix in various acoustic ensemble accompaniments found in these songs. "Simple instrumentation" to the artists and producer surely has a simply glorious sound to the rest of us!

It is safe to say then, the compositions fit perfectly with the vocal presentations, which sit so perfectly on top of the resulting sound, which sends this reviewer to the moon and back, especially because of several gems, (including TAKE IT TO THE LORD, 12 GATES OF THE CITY, WHERE THE SOUL OF MAN NEVER DIES & WHAT ARE THEY DOIN IN HEAVEN TODAY?) which I will explore further in the next section of this review.

The recording process of an album can make or break the musical quality found in any recording done. Thankfully, the sound quality of this collection of songs reflects the experience and talent of the wonderful production staff, under the direction of gifted, award-winning, music producer John Carter Cash. The songs were recorded and mixed by Chuck Turner. Second Engineer was Mark Petaccia. Beautiful job done! The listener feels like the performers are sitting in the same room as the listener, playing their music as a special concert!

Wow! Mix together memorable, Spirit-filled songs with inspired, talented artists who give glorious renditions of the music presented, all under the direction and care of a talented, focused producer, John Carter Cash, a truly entertaining and spiritually encouraging and comforting collection of songs is born, offered in a MUST HAVE CD, Voice of the Spirit:The Gospel of the South.

Lets review why this CD, Voice of the Spirit: The Gospel of the South really deserves a spot in your Christian music collection, as a wonderful addition of Spirit-filled, comforting, uplifting music, which brings the listener up to a place above self, helping and encouraging the listener to remember how much the Lord loves us, and of His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to us.

* Inspired lyrical messages which offer comfort, encouragement, resolve, hope in Jesus and perhaps even being a little convicting, for those of us who need it!

* The music heard is truly Spirit-filled, presented in the wonderful combination of just the right musical "simple" acoustic / instrumental accompaniment paired with some inspiring vocals, which are performed just in the right style and nuance, becoming together a powerful vehicle for the lyrical message found in each of these songs.

* All of this great Bluegrass, Country Christian, traditional chestnuts, all with memorable melodies which wash over and soak into the soul, paired with fabulous vocals and harmonies, uniquely found in Gospel from the South, are all expertly recorded, mixed and produced in a state of the art studio!

This Spirit-filled, collection of songs is something to hear, soak in, enjoy and uplift the spirit within. I highly recommend this album for anyone's music collection, and is a MUST for American, clean acoustic, Bluegrass and Country Gospel music lovers!

1) John Carter Cash & wife Laura Cash - At an awards show.

2) John Carter Cash, in Cash Cabin Studio with a technician and someone's little angel.

For Those who enjoy a More Detailed Review.......Of the Music, Lyrical Messages and Artists.... The Following Sections are just for you!

Closer Look at the Music

I wanted to know more about Southern Gospel music and the differences between genres which fall under the Southern Gospel umbrella. Scott Evans of the The Southern Gospel Music Forum website and Rob Patz of sgmradio.com graciously shared with me their thoughts, giving me some understanding about the characteristics of Southern Gospel, found in compositions and lyrics, and differences which exist between the types of music which are part of the Southern Gospel music family.

Rob Patz explains the roots of Southern Gospel; "To tell the difference between this and any other type of Christian music, you have to go to the roots, to the beginning of Southern Gospel. Initially it was a style of music typically performed by a male quartet - tenor, lead, baritone, bass. Actually the first male quartets went 'on the road' with just a pianist, and their main mission was to sell hymnbooks! Southern Gospel went on to incorporate 'family groups', trios, duets and female groups."

Rob Patz continues, "Today, There are many influences now heard in Southern Gospel that have been picked up from other genres: Black Gospel, Country, Bluegrass,etc. Any and all instruments have been used and often songs themselves cross over from SGM to other genres and vice versa."

Scott Evans also shared his thoughts, "Southern Gospel Music encompasses a lot of different styles. Some of it is traditional styles, male four part harmony and family groups. There is some that is light contemporary. Others are Bluegrass or Christian Country."

Two genres found under the Southern Gospel umbrella, Christian Country and Bluegrass Gospel, which are strongly represented so well on this CD, are musically different than traditional Southern Gospel. Rob Patz shares with ChristianMuisic.com, "What differentiates Southern Gospel from Christian Country, in my opinion, are the way the lyrics are sung, the instrumentation, and even the production."

Comparing the musical accompaniment, Christian Country and Bluegrass Gospel are propelled and supported by guitar or acoustic ensembles, while traditional Southern Gospel, as shared by Rob Patz, is "more heavily based on piano, bass, drums rather than on the stringed instruments."

While most of the songs presented have lively acoustic ensembles, with not a drum beat or synths note to be heard on this album, some songs in a variety of degrees fall into the traditional Southern Gospel piano-based anthem category.

OVER THE NEXT HILL, which is a Christian Country Gospel song has a easy-beat, piano-based composition with a delightful acoustic / string ensemble which complements the piano-based composition.

WE SHALL OVERCOME, which was originally a piano-based anthem, has a nice blend of piano and acoustic guitars; (Courtesy of Chalmers "Sparky"Alford, a talented, versatile guitarist who has played with the Mighty Clouds of Joy for years, and the marvelous Bill Buchanan)

AIN'T NO GRAVE GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN is a completely piano-based composition, with the choir and lead vocals carrying the melody and harmonies so beautifully, with such enthusiasm!!

Some of the cuts heard on this CD are traditional songs which have been enjoyed and performed for so many years that people have forgotten who composed them, though the Hope of their Gospel messages are timeless; gems which truly inspire one's faith and spiritual walk, offering comfort and resolve in the promises offered through Jesus. The arrangements of these traditional songs were made by the artists performing each selection, bringing their considerable talent into the heart of this inspiring collection of performances.

Honored Bluegrass music artists Earl and Randy Scruggs perform a lively, Bluegrass, acoustic instrumental rendition of I'LL BE LIFTED UP - with Larry Perkins joining the guitar ensemble and Laura Cash on fiddle, offering their talents as well to round out this fine Bluegrass, acoustic ensemble sound.

Country music artists Jessi Alexander and Jon Randall offer an inspiring, uplifting, and comforting acoustic version of the traditional WHERE THE SOUL OF MAN NEVER DIES, {one of this reviewer's favorite songs.} - Jessi and Jon offer truly dynamic, harmonious "southern harmony" vocals, which bless the listener spiritually as well as entertain. It is amazing what a wonderful accompaniment can be created by just two, well-played guitars, courtesy of Jon Randall and Mark Howard, which is spirited and complements the vocal style of this dynamic duet.

{Divisions among the different Christian denominations has been a fact since the early times of the Christian church, because of the human condition and the less than stellar characteristics of human nature: Love of rules,control, pride over service to God.} DENOMINATION BLUES is a traditional country Gospel song composed to witness to what is truly important; Having Jesus, telling others who don't know. - Rodney Crowell himself arranged this song and gives a marvelous, slightly humorous, mostly serious vocal presentation of the lyrics, (with Laura Cash singing backup vocals in chorus)- which list the differing views of Southern-based churches and the problems this causes to Christian witness, and the consequences which result.

The song's simple, delicate yet full-sounding instrumental accompaniment is provided by acoustic guitars (Rodney Crowell, Laura Cash, Larry Perkin on bass acoustic), Fiddle by Laura Cash and mandolin by Jamie Hartford.

Gospel artist Mavis Staples and guitarist Marty Stewart team together and combine their considerable talents to present the triumphant Gospel Blues Spiritual, with great expression and heartfelt joy, 12 GATES OF THE CITY (Another strong favorite!)- Marty Stewart's wonderful blues-style guitar accompaniment paired with Mavis Staples' expressive dynamic vocals are a most enjoyable listening experience, putting much spirit, zest and life into this song, making it one of this reviewer's strongest favorites!

The young people in the choral group, Fisk Jubilee Singers, of Fisk University in Nashville, offer the listener an enthusiastic, spirited performance of the Afro-American Spiritual, AIN'T NO GRAVE GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN - It is a piano driven, well-done arrangement, which makes good use of all vocal parts, so well performed by some talented young people. I do so enjoy a great choral performance! The lead singer is a young man with a promising career in music.

Some of Songs were composed by known, musically gifted and spiritually empowered people who loved the Lord: Rev. Charles A. Tindley, Rev. A.T. Atwood, A.P. Carter, Albert E. Brumley, Johnny Cash and the Appalachian song team of Carl Story & William York.

Rev. Charles A. Tindley: Rev. Tindley was born a slave in the 1850's. He became a Methodist pastor and started composing songs for his congregations, to grow their faith, offer comfort in trials and loss and to encourage dependence on the Lord. Poverty, racial prejudice, yellow fever, TB, typhoid, and other diseases plagued people, causing suffering and death. Three songs of Rev. Tindley made the final cut of songs to be performed on this album, and have timeless appeal to us all.

* LEAVE IT THERE (My favorite song on the album.)- John Cowan's stunningly clear, dynamic, expressive and powerful vocals, paired with Tony Rice's considerable guitar skills in his wonderful accompaniment is a blessing not to be missed. - This song's presentation creates its own aura which one hears the voice of the Spirit in a powerful, comforting way, which brings chills to this reviewer. Perfect anthem of encouragement and faith to listen to after a rough day, a troubling time, a devastating loss or during a rough storm which rocks human life sooner or later.

WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN HEAVEN TODAY? - A flowing, 3/4 metered, comforting, encouraging calming song, with nice contrasts provided by a duo acoustic guitar (Vince Gill) and acoustic slide guitar (Tom Britt) accompaniment, wonderfully brought to life by Vince Gill's warm, soothing vocals which tenderly express the lyrical message, which so wonderfully brings the promise of ultimate peace, joy and tranquility to the listener, when called home to be with the Lord, despite the trouble experienced in this world. (Another strong favorite of this reviewer.)

WE SHALL OVERCOME - (Based on Tindley's "I'll Overcome Someday" ) - The veteran Black Gospel group, MIGHTY CLOUDS OF JOY give this anthem, adopted by the Civil Rights movement, their all, adding some new verses of their own, in honor of New Orleans, struggling to rebuild. The Mighty Clouds of Joy have definitely mastered the art of performing their own musical sound found in their dynamic Southern Gospel harmonies and vocal expressions, characteristically heard in their songs.

Albert E. Brumley - Was the son of a poor tenant farming family in Oklahoma, who became "a founding father and preeminent Southern Gospel songwriter." Best known song of Albert E. Brumley, is "I'll Fly Away," which was sung by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch in the film, OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD - A fine acoustic ensemble, made up of an up right bass (Mark Fain). Acoustic guitar (Brian Sutton), complete with a sparkling mandolin part (Jessie McReynolds), offer delightful counter melody and chordal support for this irresistible, spunky melody and lyrical message, vocally expressed so well by legendary tenor, Mac Wiseman, known as "The Voice With A Heart." I can see why he earned this name! Mac is still going strong vocally in both his dynamic expression, style, tone, delivery and breath control!

A.P.(Alvin Pleasant) Carter - A songwriter / fiddle player / who sang the base vocals, as he was part of the original, legendary Carter Family (The brother /sisters group: A.P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter), who sang old time, country and folk music. Their first recording in 1927 was the beginning of the commercial country music industry. For 17 years, they recorded 300 songs, described as "old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs, and Gospel hymns, keeping alive an important part of southern musical heritage."

Maybelle also joined the second generation of the Carter Family, and sang with her daughters, June, Helen and Anita. June Carter (Cash) began singing with the group at the age of 6!

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH - Larry Gatlin and Laura Cash surely do shine in their solo and duet presentation of this classic gem composed by A.P. Carter. * Larry has a rich, nuanced, strong tenor voice which he definitely knows how to use, with just the right style and terrific breath control needed to sing this old time Southern Gospel country song. (Lots of long, full-sounding notes, done in "southern harmony" duets takes a lot of skill and talent.) Laura does an excellent job as well, both in singing her solo verse and keeping nicely on top of the soprano harmony part, in the duets.

This, easy-paced laid back Country Southern Gospel song has an easy-going 3/4 flowing meter, perfect for this irresistible melody, wonderfully supported by an ensemble of instruments; acoustic guitar & fiddle by Laura, acoustic guitar & autoharp by John Carter Cash and acoustic bass by Mark Finn.

Carl Story & William York - Carl Story played the guitar, fiddle as well as being a gifted vocalist & songwriter. He was known as "The Father of Bluegrass Gospel Music." William York was a talented Bluegrass Gospel songwriter who wrote such gems as OVER IN GLORYLAND and KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE, plus many others, long loved by Bluegrass performers.

MY LORD KEEPS A RECORD - A moving, 3/4 metered spirited song, performed with vigor and in a triumphant, joyous, dynamic fashion by honored Bluegrass artists, Ronnie and Del McCoury, who both have really interesting, high and higher tenor voices, creating wonderful harmony, a strong vocal persona and an irresistible zip and spirit to this really driving, dynamic, flowing toe tapper!
(Another strong favorite of this reviewer)

Rev. A.T. Atwood - He is definitely a lesser known songwriter as I couldn't find anything about him. He was probably a pastor with a gift for composing anthems for his Sunday services, in Appalachia. Perhaps he is one of the lesser known composers whom John Carter Cash discovered while doing his research.

UNCLOUDED DAY - Performed with great expression and style by Johnny Cash - with a rather talented acoustic ensemble made up of three guitars (Earl and Randy Scruggs, and Marty Stewart) and a gifted fiddle player, (Laura Cash). Johnny Cash recorded this song not long after the love of his life, June Carter Cash had died, and probably missed her terribly. The true longing in his voice as he describes heaven, as a place with unclouded days, and his delivery of the vocals fully express his faith, and yearning to be there. During one of his heart operations, he reported having a near-death experience and saw heaven personally, which surely influenced his poignant rendition of this song, bringing Rev. A.T. Atwood's Country Gospel song front and center, as a memorable anthem of hope and comfort. (Another strong favorite).

Johnny Cash - Was not only a gifted musician, an effective, talented singer, but also a creative songwriter, whose faith in the Lord shines through on his Gospel songs. One source said that out of all the albums he released, Johnny Cash truly enjoyed making Gospel albums the best, as an expression of his faith in and love for Jesus, who was a strong source of love and hope in Johnny's life, after renewing his Christian faith in the 1970's.

OVER THE NEXT HILL WE'LL BE HOME - Easy tempo, catchy melody and endearing, strong vocals by Connie Smith equals Southern Gospel at its finest - Delicate and lightly balanced musical accompaniment provided by a piano (Tony Harrell), acoustic bass (Mark Fain) and acoustic guitar and delightful mandolin ( Marty Stewart). Connie Smith's wonderful alto vocals express the lyrical message so well, and really makes the song very special!

More about the Lyrical Messages-

My cordial southern sources, Scott Evans and Rob Patz, pointed out the differences between Southern Gospel music's lyrical messages and lyrical messages found in other forms of Christian music, which is really interesting to me as a reviewer, who likes to study the lyrical messages found in Christian music.

Scott Evans of The Southern Gospel Music Forum website, told ChristianMusic.com his understanding of messages characteristically found in Gospel music from the South. "Most Southern Gospel lyrics are very strong in the hope and 'what Christ can do for you' message. There are not a lot of praise and worship songs in Southern Gospel."

Rob Patz of sgmradio.com also shared with ChristianMusic.com, "The lyrics are usually direct and straightforward, and most often talk "about" God rather than "to" Him (such as worship music)."

Living the Christian life, pleasing the Lord (Expectations of our behavior on earth, which show God's love to others. Christianity is an active faith.)

MY LORD KEEPS A RECORD * BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD * DENOMINATION BLUES * IF I BE LIFTED UP

Depending on the Lord Jesus to see us through life's storms / to mold us and make us more like Himself - (These songs talk about different, faithful aspects of the Lord)

LEAVE IT THERE * DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH * WE SHALL OVERCOME * IF I BE LIFTED UP

Believers looking forward to going home to a place of peace and love, Heaven.(God's promises to us, as His children)

UNCLOUDED DAY * WHERE THE SOUL OF MAN NEVER DIES * 12 GATES TO THE CITY

WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN HEAVEN TODAY?

Looking forward to having eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven (Promised to have eternal life with Jesus)

MY LORD KEEPS A RECORD * OVER THE NEXT HILL WE'LL BE HOME

AIN'T NO GRAVE GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN (Spiritual)

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ARTISTS AND SONGS

Any copyrighted material in this section is used in "fair use" for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

Sandy Speiser's Photo of Johnny Cash * Johnny Cash in 1994

About Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) - During his nearly 50 year musical career as a performer and songwriter in a variety of music genres; (Country, Alternative Country & Alternative Rock (1990's), Rockabilly, Blues, Rock 'n' Roll, Folk & Gospel), Johnny Cash was honored with many Country Music Awards, Grammys, and other awards, in categories ranging from vocal and spoken performances to album notes and videos. For his life's work, Johnny Cash is honored in four major music Halls of Fame: The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977), The Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash sold around 50 million albums during his career, and his songs are still selling in CD packages, such as the newly released HERE WAS A MAN: The Ultimate Gospel Collection (2007).

Johnny Cash was blessed with a rich, expressive, poignant baritone voice, and the ability to sing with a distinctive style which immediately gets the listener hooked on whatever kind of song he was performing, from ballad to folk to Gospel. He had the uncanny knack to tell a story, express a thought or principle always sincere in attitude, coming from his heart and soul, as he often sang and wrote about experiences and things in his life which really mattered to him, willing to share what he had learned with the public through his music.

RING OF FIRE was written in mid-1960's by June Carter & Merle Kilgore; (John added the mariachi-style horn parts). The lyrical message was inspired from June's hellish struggle she had within herself, between staying true to her existing marriage and her feeling of love she had for Johnny. Johnny's drug and alcohol addictions were out of control, like a ring of fire, which ruined his marriage to his first wife, Vivian.

The 1970's were an important time for him. Johnny was able to overcome his addiction to prescription narcotics and amphetamines, which he had started using to stay awake during road tours in the 1960's when his career rocketed to the moon, a trap many musicians fell into, not fully realizing the unintended consequences. In 1975, he was drawn to his Christian Faith roots and rededicated his life to Jesus in a small church. His faith continued to grow through the rest of his life, influencing his life style and music.

It is no wonder that his music has found fans across the generations. He may have gone home to be with the Lord, but his music will continue to speak to those left behind.

Some limited examples of his volumes of songs. / * His Complete Discography *
Ballads Of The True West Album - Frontier songs * Bitter Tears Album - Plight of American Indian
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison - His compassion for Prisoners. * My Mother's Hymn Book - Gospel songs
American Recordings - American Folk Grammy winner. * The Gospel Road - Songs about Jesus' life.

American IV: The Man Comes Around - A collection of personal songs; (HURT; a real tear jerker), songs of faith; (PERSONAL JESUS & BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS) and redemption; (Title song, THE MAN COMES AROUND - song written by Cash, inspired from numerous Biblical references, predominantly from the Book of Revelation.)

* * * * + + UNCLOUDED DAY - Words and Music by Rev. J.K. Atwood
Acoustic guitar: Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs and Marty Stewart / Fiddle by Laura Cash.

Scriptural References: (2nd Cor. 5:1-2, Phil. 3:20, 2nd Cor. 12:2, 4, Rev. 21:4)

Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise / They tell me of a home far away / They tell me of a home far beyond the sky / O, they tell me of an unclouded day //

Oh, the land of the cloudless days / Oh, the land of an uncloudy sky / Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise / Oh, they tell me of an uncloudy day //

They tell me of an home where my friends have gone / They tell me of a home far away / And they tell me of a home where I'll never roam / O, they tell me of an uncloudy day //

Oh, the land of a cloudless day / Oh, the land of an uncloudy sky / Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise / Oh, they tell me of an uncloudy day // Repeat

Earl Scruggs, John Carter Cash, and Earl's son, Randy Scruggs

About Earl Scruggs - Was born and raised in Shelby, North Carolina on a farm. He was one of five children. All of his family members played an instrument, favoring the banjo and guitar, though his mother played the organ and his father also played the fiddle. His father died when he was only four years. At the age of four, he started to learn to play the banjo, a source of fun and solace throughout his childhood, when he wasn't working on the farm, or attending school. He also learned the guitar, because when he played with his brother, the older boy wanted to play the banjo.

At the age of ten, young Earl developed his own 3 finger style of picking the five string banjo, which was a entirely new technique, known by the world at a later time as "Scruggs-Style Picking." This technique became a defining characteristic of banjo sound found in Bluegrass music. By his early teens, Earl was playing at dances. Throughout high school, he spent all his spare time playing his banjo, fascinated by the instrument. It is no wonder that he excelled on the banjo, destined to not only make a living from music, but to add so much to Bluegrass music.

At 21, Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in late 1945, quite a feat for such a young man. In 1948, Earl left Bill Monroe's band, taking fellow band member Lester Flatt with him, though it wasn't planned. It had been a hard three years of lots of shows, lots of traveling and not much sleep; a baptism of fire which molded their sound, caused male bonding but exhausted them, for $60 a week. Earl and Lester started their own band, FOGGY MOUNTAIN BOYS, which showcased a winning combination of Flatt's unique vocals and Earl's impressive banjo. Some of Bill Monroe's band also eventually joined them. Uh Oh! Unintentionally upsetting an established Nashville artist isn't generally a good idea.

Because of some bad feelings caused by their leaving Bill Monroe's group, they didn't make it onto the Grand Old Opry until January of 1955. They became members of the Grand Old Opry, because a sponsor of the show, Cohen T. Williams’ Martha White Flour, insisted! Their reception by other Grand Old Opry members was rather frosty, but they eventually won them over.

FOGGY MOUNTAIN BOYS, kept them rolling along with gigs and opportunities to play & compose that they had never imagined, even playing at Carnegie Hall, and composing for TV and Films! FOGGY MOUNTAIN BOYS worked on projects and concerts until 1969; which must be some kind of record for a two musician fronted act to stay together!

Some Highlights: Earl and Lester's song, Foggy Mountain Breakdown was composed and originally released in 1949. It won a Grammy in 1969; (Revamped for BONNIE AND CLYDE) and 2001. It was used in many chase sequences in film and TV, including even some MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS.

* They also wrote a TV theme song for the Beverly Hillbillies, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" which also reached #1 on the Country Music Charts. Green Acres and Petticoat Junction's themes were also composed by Scruggs and Flatt.
* They even made some guest appearances on the Beverly Hillbillies, as visiting friends of the character, Jed Clampett.
* FOGGY MOUNTAIN BOYS was the first Bluegrass band to tour Asia, opening the door to other American country music artists.
* Earl and Lester were finally inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985, six years after Lester went home to be with the Lord.

Creative differences in music philosophies finally broke up this long, fruitful partnership. Lester was a traditionalist, while Earl was a progressive, and was drawn to experimental duets and songs by newer artists, like Dylan, adding a new kind of music to the groups repertoire. However, they did record one more album together, 6 months after they broke up, as Columbia made it very worth their while and time!

Lester Flatt formed a traditional Bluegrass band, The Nashville Grass, while Earl Scruggs formed a new band, Earl Scruggs Revue, bringing his sons into the musical mix, performing what was called "Folk Rock" in the 60's and 70's.

Earl Scruggs still performs here and there as his health permits. Thankfully, he is still recording songs for CDs like this one!

About Randy Scruggs - Randy was surrounded and enveloped by Bluegrass and country music from a very early age. Being the son of Earl Scruggs, family friends included the Carters and the Cash family. Maybell Carter herself taught 6 year old Randy to play the autoharp. Learning to play the guitar wasn't far behind!

By age 13, Randy played guitar on one of his father's records. After high school, Randy formed a rock and roll band with his brother Gary. Then, both Randy and Gary joined their father's band, Earl Scruggs Revue, and got a lot of experience, and grew as musicians and in knowledge of the music business.

By 1980, Randy formed his own production company, an area where he certainly did grow and shine! By the late 1980's, Randy was able to come out from under his father's shadow and was recognized for his own musical contributions, first as a producer, and then as a musician.

* Grammy Award:"Amazing Grace" on CD: WILL the CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN, Vol. 2.
CMA Awards:
* Musician of the Year: 1999 and 2003
* 1989 Album of the Year (Production) Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol.II - (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)
* 1995 Single of the Year (Production) "When You Say Nothing At All"

* * * * + IF I BE LIFTED UP - Traditional - Arranged by Earl and Randy Scruggs

As this was an instrumental, I found a version of the words of this song on cowboylyrics.com, as a song recorded by Emmylou Harris in which she sang the words, on her Gospel album, Angel Band [1990]. A choral version of the words - performed by the Mississippi Mass Choir was found on onlylyrics.com.

Scriptural References: (John 8:28, John 3:14,& 5:23 & 10:11-18)

Fine, invigorating instrumental rendition of this Bluegrass song, brought to life by three lively acoustic guitars, courtesy of Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs and Larry Perkins, and Laura Cash's spirited fiddle. There is nothing quite as fascinating to this reviewer than to listen to three acoustic guitars playing a moving, Bluegrass composition with three different intricate acoustic voices intertwining, with Laura's bright violin sometimes giving direct melody support, sometimes playing an interesting counter melody. Of course, they make it sound so easy, but the amount of skill, experience and musicianship of the players surely is a powerful factor in the delightful sound which resulted in this recording!

Jessi Alexander (John Carter Cash Photo) and Jon Randall

About Jessi Alexander - Jessi grew up in Western Tennessee, living with her mother, though she spent every summer with her father in Memphis, close to the music which she soaked up as a child. Her musical influences were from a wide variety of artists. She loved to listen to her father's records, which included such artists as Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs and Dolly Parton. Her favorites included The Band, Bob Wills, Karla Bonoff, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Bobbi Gentry, Jackson Browne, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline.

Sometime during her childhood, she started to play the guitar, piano and she realized that she could sing around the age of 10. By the time she went to Middle Tennessee State University, she was singing and playing in bands at night as a way to earn spending money, as she was studying social work during the day. She however switched to the Music Business Program at college and stayed with it for three years.

At the urging of her professors, she headed for Nashville on a mission to evolve from a bar singer to a music artist with her own sound and style. Through seeking out other musicians as mentors and learning the craft of songwriting, Jessi found herself as an artist with her own sound, which is no small feat.

Because of some mischievous friends who sent in one of her demo tapes into a Nashville contest for unsigned artists, Jessi wound up winning the contest, sparking the interest of record company MCA who offered her a contract to record an album. Though MCA was merged into Columbia, the suits at Columbia, knew talent when they heard it, and honored her contract. This resulted in the release other debut album in 2005, HONEYSUCKLE SWEET, a collection of songs which Jessi co-wrote with seasoned songwriters.

She has also spent some time as a songwriter for Warner-Chappell, creating songs for such artists as Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless and others. She also made TV appearances such as on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show, where she sang. "This World is Crazy." Jessi currently has a contract with SONY Music Nashville and is busy recording duets with Jon Randall, also a Sony Music Nashville artist.

About Jon Randall - As a performer, he has the uncanny ability to "Connect phrase with feeling..."

Jon was born and raised in Texas. Though Jon's father was a police officer, he had a heart and talent for Bluegrass music and played in his Bluegrass band on the side. His mother was also musically gifted and played the dobro (resonator guitar') probably in husband's band. Jon was surrounded by music and this was an early influence on young Jon. His ability in songwriting appeared early, at the age of 6 when his parents gave him his first guitar. Throughout junior high and high school, he was writing songs for the various bands he had formed and led, as well as for every girl friend he ever had in school!

At the age of 18, Jon moved to Nashville, with the dream to become a published songwriter. However, Rome wasn't built in a day, and dues had to be paid. Jon started at the bottom, doing a variety of jobs in order to eat, including being a sideman, working for a law firm, ad agency, and forming a short-lived Bluegrass band to make a little money.

He got his foot in the door by taking a job as a strolling musician in Nashville's tourist attraction, Opryland. His fine tenor voice and guitar skills were heard by Holly Dunn, who lost no time in hiring him as a musician for her band, in 1989. This led to an audition for a spot in Emmylou Harris' band, The Nash Ramblers, a gig which lasted for what proved to be a valuable five years, during which he learned a lot. This association opened the door for a songwriting contact and a BNA record contract which released his debut album, WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW in 1995, which unfortunately only had one of his original tunes!

Jon did have a bad run of luck with record labels, which must of been frustrating. Just as his second album was to be released, the suits at BNA dropped him. He then had the bad luck to sign first with Asylum Records, who went under just as his album with them was to be released. Indie Eminent Records did manage to release his album, WILIN', which was well-received before they too croaked as a business. YIKES!

Jon then concentrated with tours with other artists, (such as Sam Bush, Earl Scruggs)and recording-session gigs as a vocalist and guitar player, and found himself very busy indeed! His ability to sing duets had been discovered with hit song, "By My Side," sung with Lorrie Morgan in 1996. Patty Loveless hired him as her duet partner on three of her albums, one of which won an Grammy (Livin', Lovin' Losin').

Music publisher Ree Guyer-Buchanan encouraged him to get off the road, stay home and write songs for Wrensong. The result was that a dozen artists jumped at the chance to record his tunes. He co-wrote "Whiskey Lullaby" with Bill Anderson, a tremendous hit for Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. "Whiskey Lullaby" won for Best Song of the Year in 2005!

Jon's new album soon to be released, "Walking Among the Living" was made with a solid record company, SONY MUSIC NASHVILLE, under the direction of George Massenburg, a brilliant and experienced producer. Jon says, "It was a priceless experience. Spiritually and emotionally I've matured a lot. So once we started recording this music, I really knew what I wanted it to be and where I wanted it to go."

He is also currently recording duets with Jessi Alexander, because he is so gifted at it!

* * * * + + WHERE THE SOUL OF MAN NEVER DIES - Traditional - Arranged by Jessi & Jon

Scriptural References: (2nd Cor. 5:, Rev. 21:4, 23-24 & 22:4-5)

To Canaan's land, I'm on my way / Where the soul of man never dies / My darkest night will turn to day, Where the soul of man never dies //

Chorus: No sad farewells / (Dear friends there'll be no sad farewells.) / No tear dimmed eyes (There'll be no tear dimmed eyes.) / Where all is love, (Where all is peace and joy and love.) / And the soul never dies / (And the soul of man never dies.)

(Duet) The rose is blooming there for me / Where the soul of man never dies / And I will spend eternity / Where the soul of man never dies //

Chorus: No sad farewells / (Dear friends there'll be no sad farewells.) / No tear dimmed eyes (There'll be no tear dimmed eyes.) / Where all is love, (Where all is peace and joy and love.) / And the soul never dies / (And the soul of man never dies.)

The love light beams across the foam / Where the soul of man never dies / It shines and lights the way to home, Where the soul of man never dies //

My life will end in deathless sleep / where the soul of man never dies / And everlasting joys I'll reap / Where the soul of man never dies //

Chorus: No sad farewells / (Dear friends there'll be no sad farewells.) / No tear dimmed eyes (There'll be no tear dimmed eyes.) / Where all is love, (Where all is peace and joy and love.) / And the soul never dies / (And the soul of man never dies.)

I'm on my way to that fair land / Where the soul of man never dies / where there will be no parting hand / Where the soul of man never dies /

Chorus: No sad farewells / (Dear friends there'll be no sad farewells.) / No tear dimmed eyes (There'll be no tear dimmed eyes.) / Where all is love, (Where all is peace and joy and love.) / And the soul never dies / (And the soul of man never dies.)

John Cowan and Tony Rice - Photo Courtesy of John Carter Cash

About John Cowan - John Cowan has been described as being "the ultimate innovator," with the creativity and musical gifts as a composer "to move easily between music styles and blend and bend genres into creative new forms." His musical gifts as a composer and his well-known vocal abilities as an expressive tenor have brought forth music and songs entertaining and uplifting people for over the past thirty years!

He survived a rocky, damaging childhood in Evansville, Indiana, with his musical talents intact, and with the drive and faith to use them. As a young man, he went to Louisville in the 1970's, where he became much in demand for his considerable vocal skills. His career soared like a rocket, after he became the lead singer of the progressive Bluegrass band, New Grass Revival, who presented a new explosive, experimental brand of Bluegrass, wildly popular with the younger generation, which created "contemporary music on traditional instruments."

When the New Grass Revival disbanded after a great run in 1990, John Cowan took off, exploring various genres; including rock, soul and blues, sometimes blending and bending genres to create a series of acclaimed albums throughout the 1990s'. By 2000-2001, he found himself drawn back to music that he knew so well, Bluegrass. With his current band, he just released a bold, courageous new CD, TATTOO, a wonderful new addition to Bluegrass and acoustic music, composed by John Cowan, and brought to life by his band. His creative compositions which may be innovative use of blended genres, but have Bluegrass at their heart and inspiration.

About Tony Rice - Tony Rice has spent his entire musical career developing his considerable talent on flatpicked guitar, focused on learning and growing as a musician, "bringing originality and vitality to everything he plays." It is no wonder that he has set new standards for 6 string guitar playing, and is considered one of Bluegrass’ top acoustic guitarists, bringing his own originality and spirit to everything he plays.

Tony Rice has been an innovator in flatpicked guitar acoustic music,"from straight-ahead Bluegrass to jazz-influenced new acoustic music, to songwriter-oriented folk." He has been a member of a Kentucky -based Bluegrass Alliance Band. Also joined a progressive Bluegrass group, J.D. Crowe’s New South, where He has played with fiddle/ mandolin player, Ricky Skaggs, banjo and vocalist, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Douglas (dobro)and Bobby Slone (bass).

After meeting mandolin player, David Grisman, Tony Rice went back to California to become a member of the David Grisman Quintet. Rice stretched himself musically beyond the comfort zone of three chord Bluegrass, and studied chord theory, learned to read charts, which truly expanded the range and quality of his playing.

He next joined the Bluegrass Album Band, whose members were Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Doyle Lawson and Todd Phillips, whose 6 volumes of music "attacked bluegrass standards."

One of his defining solo albums was NATIVE AMERICAN AND ME & MY GUITAR, where he brilliantly blended the influences of bluegrass, the songwriting of folk artists, and nimble, jazz-inflected guitar into this collection of songs.

Tony has also recorded two albums with his brother Wyatt.

* * * * + + LEAVE IT THERE - Words and Music by Charles A Tindley(1906)

Scriptural References: (1 Peter 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30, 2nd Cor.4:16-18, Psalm 37:5)

Chorus: Leave it there, leave it there / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there / If you trust and never doubt / He will surely bring you out / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there //

If the world from you with-hold / All of it's silver and its gold / and you have to get a long with meager fare / Just remember in his Word / How he feeds the little bird / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there //

If your body suffers pain / And your health you can't regain / And your soul is almost sinking in despair / Jesus knows the pain you feel / He can save and He can heal / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there //

Chorus:

When your enemies assail, and your heart begins to fail / Don't forget that God in heaven answers prayer / He will make a way for you/ And will lead you safely through / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there //

When your youthful days are gone / And old age is stealing on / and your body bends beneath the weight of care / He will never leave you then / He'll go with you to the end / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there //

Chorus

Now if your mother leaves you here / And sorrow you must bear / And you feel the only friend you have is gone / Whenever you feel alone / Jesus will take you in his arms / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there /

:Leave it there, leave it there / Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there / If you trust and never doubt / He will surely bring you out, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there // REPEAT

Ronnie and Del McCoury - Photo Courtesy of John Carter Cash

About Del McCoury - Delano Floyd McCoury was born in Bakersville, North Carolina , and grew up in York , in southern Pennsylvania. His family and the extended family of the McCoury kin were Bluegrass music enthusiasts, well experienced in old-time music and clawhammer style of playing the banjo. All loved to listen to The Grand Ole Opry. Del's older brother introduced him to the music of Flatt and Scruggs taught Del how to play the guitar and then the banjo. Del learned to play the banjo using the new Scruggs style of picking by listening to his brother's 78 RPMs, one of them being a Flatt and Scruggs song.

One of his early experiences was playing with Keith Daniels on a local radio Bluegrass station with The Steven Brothers. This led to the forming of the Keith Daniels and the Blueridge Partners in 1958. After a stint in the military, Del and his brother Jerry set out for Baltimore, MD, an area known to be a strong meeting place of Bluegrass musicians and developing talent. They landed jobs with The Franklin Country Boys and then Jack Cooke's Virginia Playboys, getting more experience playing in the Baltimore clubs, and bars, known as "honky tonks."

When Del and Jack Cooke, former member of Bill Monoe's Band were playing a gig, minding their own business, whom should walk in and sit right in front of them but none other than Bill Monore himself!! Del McCoury wound up playing guitar in The Bluegrass Boys from 1963 - 1964, until Del married the love of his life, Jean and they moved to California!

After playing for The Golden State Boys, which was disappointing on the financial front, Del and fellow ex Bluegrass Boy Billy Baker decided that music gigs were more plentiful on the East Coast, so they left California, going back to York, PA. Eeking out a living was ok for single folks, but not acceptable for married men. Del and Billy formed a band, Shady Valley Boys, playing gigs on the side as a fun thing, while working a day job, and taking time to raise the family. Family life was very important to Del, a value that he and his wife instilled in their boys. In 1968, Del formed his own band, Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals, playing festivals and gigs on the side throughout the seventies, making some good records as well.

Musically, things began to pop and bloom when Del's sons, Ronnie and Robbie joined Del's band, bringing their musical talent and fresh ideas into the mix, which revitalized and encouraged Del as a musician and leader. The band's name changed to The Del McCoury Band, and new albums (including DON'T STOP THE MUSIC, BLUESIDE OF TOWN and THE COLDHARD FACTS) earned them many awards from The International Bluegrass Music Assoc, helping them to definitely give up their day jobs, move to Nashville in 1992 and make music full time!

Throughout the nineties, The Del McCoury Band presented the "best qualities of Bluegrass in new songs in new music," even collaborating with alternative rock group, Phish and creating an album with Steve Earle, THE MOUNTAIN in 1999. Also in 1999, they released a well-received album, THE FAMILY.

"Show -stopping" song in Del's live performances, sung a cappella: Get Down on Your Knees and Pray

Awards and Honors:

Since 1992 - Received 40 individual and group citations from the International Bluegrass Music Association'--including nine "Entertainer Of The Year" awards.

2005 - 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards - The Del McCoury Band was a first time winner; "Best Bluegrass Album" for their album, The Company We Keep.

2007 Dove Nomination for Bluegrass song of the year: “We Know Where He Is”; The Promised Land; Del McCoury Band; Shawn Camp; McCoury Music

About Ronnie McCoury - Ronnie was born in 1967 in York County, PA. and was raised there. From very early on, Ronnie and his brother witnessed many rehearsals of the Dixie Pals and "pickin' parties at their family's home. Ronnie and his brother were encouraged to follow their own interests, and were not pushed into playing music by Del.

Ronnie started taking violin lessons at the age of 9, but stopped two years later, to play baseball and basketball, which he did all through high school . However, in 1980, Del took 13 year old Ronnie to a Lincoln Center gig, where Bill Monroe and others were also playing in the show as well. When Bill Monroe met Ronnie, he took a liking to the boy and even let Ronnie play his mandolin. Ronnie fell in love with the mandolin, and a year later, in 1981, was good enough to play rhythm in Del's band, and continued to play, getting better every year!

By 1987, both Ronnie (mandolin) and Robbie (banjo) were playing in the band, and the sound of this group evolved! They brought new "fresh contemporary arrangements and material to the group," which evolved their sound to a new generation of Bluegrass enthusiasts. By 1992, Ronnie and his wife moved to Nashville, from Yorktown, PA.

Other Projects:

* In 1995, Ronnie and Robbie made an album together, self-titled on Rounder Records.

* In 1995, Ronnie join in a group effort with other mandolin players, like David Grisman and made a CD, MANDOLIN EXTRAVAGANZA, which was released in 1999. This CD was honored by a Grammy nomination and won an IBMA Award for INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

* In 2000, Ronnie did his first solo CD - HEARTBREAK TOWN

Ronnie is a family man, married to the love of his life, Allison, and has 2 boys and a girl.

* * * * + + MY LORD KEEPS A RECORD - Words and Music by Carl Story & William York

Scriptural References: (Romans 14:12, 2nd Cor. 5:10, John 3:16, & 14:2, Ephesians 2:4-8)

What a wonderful beautiful picture I have / Of a place without sorrow or fear / And I'm going to live in that city someday / For my days are all numbered down here /

Chorus: My Lord (yes my lord) keeps a record ( keeps a record)) / Of the moments I'm living (living) down here (living down here) / He knows (yes He knows) all about me(all about me) all my troubles, my sorrows, my fears (my sorrows, my fears) / I live (yes I live)/ each moment (every moment) through the mercies of God's loving grace (God's loving grace) / And some day, (yes some day) / He will call me (he will call me) / To that wonderful beautiful place (marvelous place) //

Now I want to be doing the will of my Lord / As I travel this wearisome land / So I'll not be ashamed of my record up there / When I stand at the Saviors right hand //

Chorus

I will walk on the streets of that city of gold / I will bask in that heavenly light / And I'll look on the face of my Savior so dear / In that city that cometh no night /

My Lord (yes my lord) keeps a record ( keeps a record)) / Of the moments I'm living (living) down here (living down here) / He knows (yes He knows) all about me(all about me) all my troubles, my sorrows, my fears (my sorrows, my fears) / I live (yes I live)/ each moment (every moment) through the mercies of God's loving grace (God's loving grace) / And some day, (yes some day) / He will call me (he will call me) / To that wonderful beautiful place (marvelous place) //

Mavis Staples and Marty Stewart

About Mavis Staples - Mavis was born in 1940, the youngest child of four children in a musical family. Led by their father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, the Staples Singers began to sing in Chicago area churches in 1948 and on a weekly radio show, performing acoustic gospel-folk style songs. Mavis was only 8 years old! A big 1956 hit was their rendition of UNCLOUDY DAY. They signed their first recording contract in 1952, first of several labels, including : United Records, Vee-Jay, Riverside, and then Epic Records in 1965.

Under Epic Records, The Staples Singers entered the pop music market with soul folk , and R&B style songs, supported by Gospel harmonies and faith. As Roebuck "Pops" Staples was a good friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Staple Singers became inspired to become "the spiritual and musical voices of the Civil Rights Movement. They sang contemporary pop hits with a positive outlook:"A Hard Rain Is Going To Fall" (by Bob Dylan). They also performed message songs, such as "Long Walk to D.C."

In the 1970's, The group recorded at Muscle Shoals Studio, adding funk and soul to their singing style, which created songs which were popular on the R & B charts. The songs, "I'll Take You There"(Mavis sang the lead vocals), and their 1972 recording on Stax of "Respect Yourself," (certified Platinum) not only topped the R and B charts, but also crossed over to the top 40. They had 3 number 1 singles, ("If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)""I'll Take You There" & "Let's Do It Again"), and one #2 single,"Who Took the merry Out of Christmas?"

"Let's Do It Again" was their last huge hit, though they have performed here and there over the years. In 1994, they as a group somewhat found their audience once again after singing the song "The Weight," with Country music artist Marty Stuart for MCA Nashville's Rhythm Country & Blues project. In 2005, the group was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mavis Staples, under the Stax label, recorded her first solo album, Mavis Staples in 1969, which was only the beginning of her enduring influence on Gospel Soul, Blues and R& B. She was blessed with a powerful gift, and with the training and faith in the Lord to use it through her many experiences. Prince called her voice, "The epitome of soul." Rightly so! She has influenced, inspired other artists for many years, so talented is she, having "one of pop's most distinctive voices" which she uses to uplift and bless others.

Other albums she recorded are: ONLY FOR THE LONELY * A SOUNDTRACK ALBUM, A PIECE OF THE ACTION * TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE * 1993'S THE VOICE * 1996- SPIRITUALS AND GOSPELS (A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson), and her newest release, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.

In 2003, Mavis and her close friend Bob Dylan were nominated for a Grammy Award for their duet on Dylan's song, "Gotta Change My Way of thinking," (A cut from Dylan's GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY Album).

During her long career in music, she has appeared in many TV shows and films. Mavis has recorded with a wide variety of musicians. One of her strengths as a vocalist comes from "holding onto her Gospel roots," which influenced her R & B music. Mavis says in her website Bio, "Blues and Gospel are cousins. They're very closely related. Both styles of music lift you up from what's keeping you down."

About Marty Stewart - John Marty Stewart was born into a loving family on September 30, 1958 in Philadelphia Mississippi. His immense gifts for music appeared really early in his life. He began to teach himself how to play the guitar at age 5. He moved onto the mandolin just a few years later. He spend his free time playing his instruments and listening to Flatt and Scruggs songs and Johnny Cash songs on his family's stereo.

After seeing Bill Monroe perform at a concert with his parents, his drive to play was cemented in his psyche. In 1971, at the age of 13, Marty went with his family to the Bean Blossom Festival, sponsored by Bill Monroe. He got to meet Lester Flatt, and played his mandolin for Roland White, a member of Lester Flatt's band, the Nashville Grass.

In 1971, Marty played with a Bluegrass band, called The Sullivans, on the weekends and during the summer, playing in festivals and churches throughout the South. At one of these festivals, Roland ran into Marty again, and told him to call him if Marty could go on a weekend gig with the Nashville Grass.

While Marty was a highly gifted musician, he wasn't a very good student in school. Playing Bluegrass music was a huge dream for him, monopolizing his mind when he was supposed to be paying attention in school. Finally his teacher had had enough and sent Marty home for one too many transgressions. YIKES! Marty called Roland and he was taken along on a Labor Day weekend road trip in 1972, after convincing his parents to let him go, which wasn't a walk in the park.

When they got back, Marty, just shy of 14, was offered a full time job playing mandolin for The Nashville Grass, after Lester himself promised to see that Marty got his education, saved money and would be responsible for Marty. Marty played with Lester's band until Lester died in 1979.

Marty found himself very busy indeed, touring with musicians and being a session musician on recordings done by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young and Billy Joel. In 1980, Marty got to meet Johnny Cash and played his guitar for him, which got him hired immediately, becoming a member of Johnny's band, which lasted 6 years.

Marty was married to Johnny's daughter, Cindy (1983-1988). In 1986, Marty was ready to try being a solo performer. He signed a contract with CBS records and his debut album, MARTY STEWART was released. While a single from the album, Arlene, was a hit, resulting in a nomination for BEST NEW MALE VOCALIST of the year (Academy of CM), the album itself wasn't deemed a chart success, resulting in the short-sighted suits at CBS releasing him from his contract.

Marty was described as being "broken and dejected," having never in his life been rejected as a musician. (Someone should've warned him about record companies!) He went home to Mississippi, seeking advice from his family, and most importantly turned to the Lord for guidance. Then, Jerry Sullivan called him, looking for a mandolin player, which was an answer to prayer. His faith in the Lord grew stronger, and he "got back up on the horse," remembering to find happiness in the Lord as well as in his music.

The decade of the 1990s' brought much success and recognition as an artist. From 1989 to 2000: Marty had a successful career with MCA Records (4 gold albums and many hit singles.). He married the love of his life in 1997, Connie Smith.

1999- Marty did a bold, innovative project, The Pilgrim."The concept album weaves honky-tonk, folk and hillbilly rock into a song cycle that traces a tragic love triangle." His friends, Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, and Johnny Cash jumped in to help him.

2000 - 2007 - Busiest and most productive period of his life - Very busy songwriting, producing CDs, performing with friends on CDs, and living a happy life. in Mississipp; Exploring other interests: Photography, writing, being a collector of "historic accoutrements of the country world," and arts executive, which he enjoys and is having great success at doing.

* He formed a new band, The Fabulous Superlatives, with Kenny Vaughan | Harry Stinson & Brian Glenn. They have released three albums together: The Gospel collection "Souls’ Chapel," "Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives Live at the Ryman" and "Badlands."

* He has launched his own record company, Superlatone Records, which is backed by Universal South Entertainment.

Awards and Honors INCLUDE: 12 Grammy nominations,four awards; five ACM nominations; seven CMA nominations, one award. He has had six top-ten hits, one platinum and five gold albums.

* Member of Grand Old Opry * CMA - Vocal Event of the Year * Inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame
* Five BMI Awards- Songwriting, including ("This One's Gonna Hurt," "You and Now That's Country," "Little Things," "Tempted," and "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'")
* 4 GRAMMYS (2- Best Country Instrumental Performance & 2 Best Country Vocal Collaboration)
* Golden Globe Nomination : For CD sound track of Billy Bob Thornton movie All The Pretty Horses; writing and performing the end-title ballad and producing the soundtrack
* 2004 International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year.

Sources for the above BIOs Include: martystuart.com * martystuart.net * mavisstaples.com

* * * * + + 12 GATES TO THE CITY - Traditional Spiritual - Arranged by Mavis Staples
Vocals by Mavis Staples / Guitar - Marty Stewart

Scriptural References: (Rev. 21:12-13,18, 21b, John 14:2}

(A cappella) Have you heard of a city / Streets are paved with gold / Have you heard of a city / Streets are paved with gold/ Have you heard of a city / Streets are paved with gold / Twelve gates to the city, Hallelu(jah) / Hallelu(jah)

(Guitar enters) Chorus: Oh, what a beautiful city / Oh, what a beautiful city / Oh, what a beautiful city / Twelve gates to the city, Hallelu(jah) //

Three gates in the east / Three gates in the west / Three gates in the north / Three gates in the south / Twelve gates to the city, Hallelu(jah) //

If you see my dear old mother / Do me a favor please / Tell my beautiful mother / Save a seat for me / Twelve gates to the city, Hallelu, Hallelu(jah) //

My Lord built that city / Built it just 4 square wide / Wanted all of you sinners, meet him on the other side / When I get to heaven / You know I'm gonna to sing and shout / Ain't Nobody there / goin' to be able to turn me out / I'm goin' to talk with the Father / Chattin' with the Son / Tell'em about this mean old world / That I just come from / /

VAMP: Twelve gates to the city, 24 elders in the city / 48 angels in the city / Waitin' for me in the city / Meetin' me in the city / Meetin' me in the city / Meetin' me in the city/ Feast on milk and honey / Walk all over God's heaven / Shout all over God's heaven / Always howdy howdy / never never never goodbye!/

Chorus: Oh, what a beautiful city / Oh, what a beautiful city / Oh, what a beautiful city / Twelve gates to the city, Hallelu(jah) //

Vince Gill

“I fancy myself the Bruce Springsteen of hillbilly music,” he said. “I like to play and play and play.”

About Vince Gill - Vince was born April 12, 1957 and raised in Norman Oklahoma, in a music-loving family. Before he went to high school in Oklahoma City, his musical gifts showed themselves in his ability to learn to play musical instruments, including guitar and banjo, and I bet his wonderful voice was evident early in his life as well.

Described as being" multi-layered in his Bluegrass playing and singing abilities," Vince left home after graduating from high school, and started the process of paying his dues, expanding his experiences and evolving his sound. He played in a number of a Bluegrass Bands. Mountain Smoke and Ricky Skagg's Boone Creek proved to be important stepping stones for his career, providing experience needed to improve and evolve.

In the 1970's, Vince Gill was exposed to alternative country music when he joined Rodney Crowell's backup band, The Cherry Bombs, expanding his songwriting skills and his musical repertoire as well.

After playing some Bluegrass gigs with Byron Berline and Sundance, He then tried out for a spot in the Pure Prairie League in 1978, becoming their lead singer for 3 albums, with country rock the main genre of choice.

Vince fell in love in 1980, and married country singer, Janis Gill (1980-1996). They had a daughter in 1982. In 1984, Vince began his solo career, releasing his first debut album, TURN ME LOOSE, on RCA label, Throughout the 1980's, he continued to record albums, even doing some songs with his wife, Janis.

Vince Gill's career took off like a rocket when he released his album , THE KEY under the MCA label, which was well received with critical acclaim. His music had matured and evolved, and he was ready! The break-through hit from this album was "When I call your name," earning him CMA's award for BEST COUNTRY VOCAL MALE PERFORMANCE, in 1990, which was only the beginning of the CMA awards and nominations he was to receive in the coming decade, for his songs & vocals, including ("I Still Believe in You,""When Love Finds You") and instrumental group efforts ("A Soldier's Joy" "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" - 2001).

* Vince has sung duets with numerous artists, has been the CMA Award host from 1992 -2003, and has received 18 CMA Awards / 49 Nominations.

* In 1997 - Inducted into Western Performers Hall of Fame - at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. * Won a Grammy for Best Male country Vocal.

Vince Gill release a new album in 2006, called THESE DAYS, a wonderful 4 disc collection of 43 all new songs by Vince Gill, with some old and new friends and his daughter Jenny bringing their talents into the mix! It is nominated for a 2007 CMA Award for Album of the Year!

Disc 1: Workin' On A Big Chill (The Rockin' Record) * Disc 2. The Reason Why (The Groovy Record)
Disc 3: Some Things Never Get Old (The Country & Western Record) * Disc 4. Little Brother (The Acoustic Record)

* In 2000, Vince Gill married Amy Grant, and they have a little daughter.

* * * * + + WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN HEAVEN TODAY? - Charles Albert Tindley (1901)-

Arranged by Vince Gill
Vince Gill (vocals & acoustic guitar) & Tom Britt on Slide guitar

Scriptural References: (John 16:33, Rev. 21:4 & 22:1-3)

Chorus: Oh, what are they doing in heaven today Where sin and sorrow are all done away / Peace abounds like a river they say/ Oh, what are they doing there now //

I’m thinking today of some friends that I know Who lived and suffered in this world below /They’re gone off to heaven, but I want to know / What are they doing there now?

Chorus: What are they doing in heaven today Where sin and sorrow are all done away / Peace abounds like a river they say/ Oh, what are they doing there now //

There’s some whose hearts were burdened with care / They paid for their moment with sighing and tears But they clung to the cross in trembling and fear / Oh, what are they doing there now?

Chorus: What are they doing in heaven today Where sin and sorrow / All done away / Peace abounds like a river they say / Oh, what are they doing there now //

And there’s some whose bodies were full of disease Physicians and doctors couldn’t give them much ease / They suffered ‘til death / brought a final release /But, what are they doing there now?

Chorus:

There’s some who were poor and often despised They looked up to heaven with tear-blinded eyes / While others were heedless and deaf to their cries / Oh, what are they doing there now?

(chorus)

Tag: Peace abounds like a river they say / Oh what are they doin' right now?

 

Max Wiseman

About Mac Wiseman - Malcom B. Wiseman was born on his family's farm on May 23, 1925, in Crimora, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley just north of Waynesboro. Because his family had a phonograph and battery run radio, every Saturday night the Wiseman's friends and neighbors would gather together and listen to The Grand Old Opry, creating an atmosphere which inspired young Mac, who's musical abilities appeared early in his life.

In his childhood, Mac caught the dreaded polio virus, but survived with a limp leg as a remembrance of the experience, lucky to not wind up in an iron lung. Mac made / makes the most of his life, contributing his gifts to the world.

Already a bass fiddle player, Mac began playing guitar at the age of 14, joining a high school band. He was able to go to college on a scholarship, which was given to him by National Polio Foundation. Mac attended Conservatory of Music in Dayton, Virginia where he studied music theory, radio and piano, getting an education in classical music. I bet he was a performance major!

From 1946-1951, Mac played and sang with a variety of talented musicians; Molly O'Day, Curley Seckler, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe himself. In 1953, he formed his own band once more, THE COUNTRY BOYS, and recorded songs with DOT Records:"Jimmy Brown, The News Boy", "'Tis Sweet To Be Remembered" and many others.

Mac Wiseman has had a full and busy life in music. For over 53 years Mac Wiseman has been a professional musician, contributing much to Bluegrass music. Besides recording solo albums, and albums with old friends like Lester Flatt, he has performed on the Grand Old Opry, Bluegrass festivals, and has been involved in areas related to music, such as being a disc jockey, head of a talent agency, a "sideman", playing guitar or bass fiddle, a promoter and a record company executive.

A&R director for DOT Records Country music artists * Performer and program director for Wheeling Jamboree" on WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia * Ran a talent agency * Was the radio host for a late night Record Shop program.

HONORS: Inducted into SPBGMA's "Preservation Hall of Greats" in 1987 * Admitted to the IBMA's "Hall of Honor" in 1993.

* * * * + BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD - Words and Music by Albert F. Brumley

Scriptural References: (Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 4:10-11, Matt. 28:19)

There are people who would rather live in splendor / Brag about their silver and their gold / People who would trade God's promise / For its glory to hold / Now people who would rather live in mansions / People who would rather live abroad / But I'd rather have a little log cabin / By the side of the road //

Chorus: I'd rather live / By the side of the road / And try to point souls to the blessed abode / Than to be a king or millionaire / And live in mansions in bright array / I'd rather do / A neighborly deed / Or help some traveler here or a friend in need / I'd rather live / By the side of the road / And help some pilgrim along life's way //

I'd rather have a cabin by the roadside / Where the pilgrimage of man is passin' by / Try to point some soul to Jesus And that city on high / Every day I want to help scatter roses / Every night I want my light to shine abroad / With a welcome from my little bay window / By the side of the road //

Chorus

Laura Cash and Larry Gatlin

About Laura Cash - After a gymnastics mishap at the age of 9, Laura began her musical journey with the fiddle. Her father gave her an old family fiddle, which he had gotten restored. Being a fine carpenter, he made a barter agreement with the fiddle maker. He built a two story deck in a trade for restoration services! She fell in love with the fiddle, becoming quite good at mastering the instrument, and entered fiddle contests with her family supporting her. At the age of 17, she came in first place at the National Fiddle Championship at Weiser, Idaho.

As she grew up, she also learned the guitar and mandolin. So when she moved to Nashville after graduating from high school, she was well prepared musically to pay her dues, playing her instruments (especially her fiddle), singing harmony with a variety of bands, with such artists as Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, James House, Chalee Tennison and even spending a year in Japan, playing in a Bluegrass band! She also played her fiddle on The Grand Old Opry, with two bands, "The Cherokee Cowboys," and Mr. Roy Acuff's show.

Laura was invited to go on tour with June Carter-Cash to promote June's album "Press On," which was produced by June's son, John Carter Cash, who also came along on tour! Well, cupid shot well, and Laura and John were married two years later. They have two children together and a son from John's former marriage.

Laura has made one traditional country music album, "Among My Souvenirs," which is a collection of all her favorite traditional country songs, and continues to play her fiddle / sing on various projects.

About Larry Gatlin - Larry is a talented songwriter and singer, the oldest of three brothers, who together formed the much honored Gatlin Brothers. Hailing from Texas, Larry and his brothers natural musical talent appeared early and they began performing for church and family at an early age. Larry went to the University of Houston on a football scholarship, majoring in English, which enhanced his songwriting skills.

After graduating from college, he became known in Nashville as a talented songwriter, and he took his solo act to the clubs and listening rooms, while his brothers finished school. His first solo record contract with Monument Records was signed in 1974. In making his first two albums, THE PILGRIM and RAIN RAINBOW, Larry invited his brothers, Steve and Rudy to sing backup vocals. Larry earned his first Grammy for the song, BROKEN LADY from the album, RAIN RAINBOW in 1976, the year in which all three Gatlin Brothers were inducted into The Grand Old Opry.

In 1977, the huge success of their album, HIGH TIME, convinced them to officially become an "official trio" and they signed a contract with Columbia Records. Over the next ten years, The Gatlin Brothers had over a dozen Top Forty Hits. In 1992, The Gatlin Brothers decided to stop touring, feeling that their run as a group was just about over. However, they discovered that people still wanted to see them perform, so they have been accepting "selected dates,"still entertaining audiences with their unique sound, warm stage presence and wonderful songs.

Larry has written two books, an autobiography, ALL THE GOLD IN CALIFORNIA, and BOOGER'S & SNOT, a story about his granddaughter. Larry lives in Austin, with the love of his life, Janis. They have two grown children.

* * * * + DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH - Words and Music by A P Carter

Acoustic Guitar & Fiddle: Laura, Acoustic Guitar & Autoharp: John Carter Cash. Acoustic Bass: Mark Finn.

Scriptural References:(Heb. 12:1-2, Phil. 3:12-14, Romans 5:1-5)

(Larry) While walking out, one evening, Not knowing where to go / Just to pass the time away Before we held our show / I heard the Bethel mission band / Singing with all its might / I gave my soul to Jesus / And left the show that night //

(Duet) The day will soon be over / And evening will be done /No more gems to be gathered /So let us all press on / When Jesus comes to claim us / And says it is enough / The diamonds will be shining / No longer in the rough //

(Laura) While reading through the Bible / Some wondrous sights I see / I read of Peter, James and John / By the Sea of Galilee / And Jesus when he found them / He found them mighty tough / And they were precious diamonds / He gathered in the rough //

(Duet) The day will soon be over / And evening will be done / No more gems to be gathered /So let us all press on / When Jesus comes to claim us / And He says it is enough / The diamonds will be shining / No longer in the rough //

Fisk Jubilee Singers

* * * * + AIN'T NO GRAVE GONNA HOLD MY BODY DOWN -Traditional Afro-American Spiritual

Arranged by the Fisk Jubilee Singers

About the Fisk Jubilee Singers - Fisk University , located in Nashville opened its doors in 1866 as the first American university to offer a liberal arts education to “young men and women irrespective of color.” Five years after opening, Fisk University found itself in "dire financial straits," in need of funds to keep its programs running! A music professor, who was also the treasurer of the university, George L. White, came up with a bold plan, which would require stepping out in faith for all concerned. George formed a 9 student member choral ensemble which toured around cities, performing spirituals and anthems which had originated with the newly-freed slave population.

At first, their reception from white audiences, was a little frosty, but attitudes evolved and hearts warmed up to the beautiful youthful voices and their heartfelt, enthusiastic performances, which led to not only money to keep the fires burning at Fisk University and build new, permanent building, but a tour to Europe, a White House performance and lots of goodwill as they connected to people of all colors.

Scriptural References: (1 Thess.. 4:13-17, 1 Cor. 15:23)

There ain't no grave / Can hold my / body down / There ain't no grave / Can hold my / body down / When I hear that trumpet sound / I'm gonna rise right out of that ground / Ain't no grave can hold my / body down

Well, Look way down the river/ Andwhat do you think I see? / I see a band of angels / and they're coming after me

There ain't no grave (NO grave)/ Can hold my (my body) body down (hold my body down)/ There ain't no grave (NO grave) / Can hold my (my body) / body down (hold my body down)/

Well look down yonder Gabriel / Put your foot on the land and sea / but Gabriel don't you blow your trumpet / until you hear from me //

There ain't no grave (NO grave)/ Can hold my (my body) body down (hold my body down)/ There ain't no grave (NO grave) / Can hold my (my body) / body down (hold my body down)/

There ain't no grave / Can hold my body down / There ain't no grave / Can hold my / body down /

(Sung accapella, full choir) Bridge: Well, Meet me Jesus meet me (meet me) / Meet me in the middle of the air / And if these wings don't fail me / I'll meet you anywhere / /

Ain't no grave (NO grave) / Can hold my (my body)/ body down (hold my body down)/ There ain't no grave (NO grave) / Can hold my (my body) / body down (hold my body down)/

Well, meet me mother and father / Meet me down the river road /And mama you'll know that I'll be there / when I check my heavy load //

There ain't no grave (NO grave)/ Can hold my (my body) / Body down (hold my body down)/ There ain't no grave (NO grave) / Can hold my (my body) body down (hold my body down)/

Tag: Ain't no grave (no grave) / my body (my body) / down (dooowwwn) //

Rodney Crowell

About Rodney Crowell - Rodney is a honored, prolific songwriter and recording artist in both the alternative country and mainstream country music. His parents' families hailed from the share crop farmlands of Western Kentucky and Tennessee. Rodney was born in Houston, Texas in 1950. He inherited his musical gifts from both sides of his family. His grandfather and father, and his maternal grandmother and aunts were well known for their musical talents.

Rodney's father formed a musical group called The J.W. Crowell and the Rhythmaires, specializing in a blend of hardcore honkytonk, Texas swing, and Appalachian folk music. Eleven year old Rodney got his first taste of being part of a musical ensemble when he played the drums for a short while in his dad's band. Somewhere along the way, he learned how to play the guitar very well. At fifteen, he followed his father's example and formed his own rock and roll band, The Arbitrators, making most of his spending money playing gigs for teen parties and legion hall dances.

In August of 1972, Rodney and his college roommate, Donivan decided to leave school and go to Nashville, to become songwriters. Rodney learned about songwriting from a group of talented, "misfit songwriters" who were clientelle of Bishop's Pub, where they participated in the open mike stage and often had "all night drinking and song swapping sessions," immensely valuable for young Rodney, who was influenced and mentored by Townes Van Zandt, Micky newberry and Guy and Susanna Clark. This proved to be an effective hands-on, way to learn the craft of songwriting for Rodney Crowell.

Two songs which came out of this unofficial, tough school of songwriting were BLUEBIRD WINE and 'TIL I CAN GAIN CONTROL AGAIN, caught the interest of up and coming artist Emmylou Harris, who recorded them on her debut album in 1974. Rodney Crowell found himself as a friend and collaborator of Emmylou, and landed a place in her HOT BAND in '75, as her rhythm guitarist, her harmony backup vocalist and songwriter. When she went to California, Rodney got a crash course on the "art of arranging music for studio and stage" from experts, Glen D. Hardin, James Burton and Emory Gordy, who split their time between Emmylou and Elvis!

In 1977, just 5 years after Rodney arrived in Nashville, he was offered a recording contract with Warner Brother's Records. He went on to create a music career which resulted in 18 albums, a greatest hits package, and many hit songs for other artists. He became really popular in mainstream country during the late 1980's / early 1990's, earning a Grammy award for Best Country Song in 1989, for "after all this Time", one of five hits released on his popular album, DIAMONDS AND DIRT in 1988.

Recent Awards: Received a nomination for Top Vocal Group for the 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Rodney Crowell received a lifetime achievement award for songwriting at the Fifth Annual Americana Music Awards on September 22 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

2005 - Released the CD: THE OUTSIDERS. - In a review by Rick Clark, it is stated that this CD is perfect for anyone seeking out adult music that offers a provocative marriage of heart and mind...

In his personal life, he was married to Johnny Cash's daughter, Rosanne (1979-1992), and produced her first five albums. In 1998 he married singer Claudia Church.

* * * * + DENOMINATION BLUES - (Traditional)

Scriptural References: (Ephesians 2: 2-10 & 4:2-5, Romans 12:2)

I wanna tell you people it's a nat'ral fact / Ev'ry man don't understand / the Bible right / And that's all, /And that's all / You gotta have Jesus / I tell you that's all //

Well, the denominations have no right to fight / They oughta just be treating each other right / And that's all / I gotta tell you that's all / You gotta have Jesus / I'll tell you that's all //

(violin enters)The Primitive Baptists / They believe / You can't get up to heaven 'less you wash your feet' / And that's all / I'm gonna tell you that's all / Yeah, you gotta have Jesus / I.m here to tell you that's all //

And in the Missionairy Baptists / They all believe / You gotta go under the water not to wash our feet /And that's all / I gonna tell you that's all / Yeah you gotta trust Jesus / I tell you that's all //

And in the Indian Methodists / They believe / You sprinkle the head and not to wash your feet / And that's all / I'm hear to tell you that's all / Boys, you gotta love Jesus / I tell you that's all //

The African Methodists / Now they believe the same 'Cause they know / no demonination ain't nothin but a name / And that's all / I gotta tell you that's all / You gotta have Jesus / I tell you that's all //

Interlude:

Then there's the holiness people / When they came in / They said boy you can make it / By living above sin, / And that's all / I wanna tell you that's all / You gotta have Jesus / I tell you that's all //

And now the church of God / They got it in their mind / You can't go to heaven, drinkin that sacrement wine / And that's all / I don't have to tell tell you that's all / You just gotta love Jesus / I'm hear to tell you that's all //

So keep on fighin' with each other / You are doing pretty well / While the sinners on the outside / Are going straight to hell / And that's all / You Know I'll tell you that's all / We better find Jesus pretty soon / I wanna tell you that's all //

Because it's good to stand together / It's bad to stand apart / The ones that are going to heaven / Have got that pureness in their heart / And that's all / I'm hear to tell you that's all / We gotta get Jesus right now / I tell you that's all /

Tag: I wanna tell you people / it's a nat'ral fact / Ev'ry man don't understand / the Bible right / And that's all //

Connie Smith

About Connie Smith - Connie grew up in Hinton, West Virginia, in a large family, one of 14 children. Her musical talent and desire to perform appeared early, at the tender age of 5! Her very successful country music career as a vocalist started in 1963, when she won a talent contest, Connie got to meet Opry Star Bill Anderson, which led to an invitation to perform on the Ernest Tub Shop Radio Show in March, 1964. By June of 1964, she signed a record contract with RCA. Her first song released was a song by Bill Anderson, ONCE A DAY, just the first of more Top 10 hit songs which followed.

Connie became a member of The Grand Old Opry in 1966, which not only was a huge boost to a performers career, but also gave Connie the commitment to do lots of touring, recording, and make TV and movie appearances. YIKES! All these activities really propel an artist's career, but can cause stress, tension with loved ones and make having a family life a difficult challenge.

Connie took a leave from the musical rat race and gave her time to her 5 children, choosing toput her musical talents to work to benefit the spiritual development of the family's home church. When she did resume her career in 1971, after rejoining The Grand Old Opry, she was able to have a more balanced schedule which allowed more time for family life. She continued to record throughout the 1970s', including some Gospel albums. In the 1980's, Connie again went into semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and her children, not recording any albums, but still released a single or two, such as "A Far Cry From You". During this time, Country Pop style had become immensely popular in country music, pushing older artists off the charts, but not out of their fan's hearts!

Her come-back album,THE WAYWARD WIND, was released in 1992. Other albums followed in the 1990's. In 2003, Connie Smith and two women from the country music group, The Whites; Barbara Fairchild and Sharon, released a Christian album, LOVE NEVER FAILS.

Over her long career, she received 10 CMA nominations, and 3 nominations for Country Music Association Female vocalist of the Year. She also wrote 30 songs herself, and won a BMI award for her song, "I'll Come Running"(1967).

Connie Smith wasn't lucky in marriage, but she finally wound up with the love of her life, marrying fellow Grand Old Opry star, Marty Stewart in 1998! She has 5 children and has been blessed with five grandchildren.

* * * * + + OVER THE NEXT HILLWE'LL BE HOME - Words and Music by Johnny Cash

Piano: Tony Harrell. Acoustic base: Mark Fain. Acoustic guitar and Mandolin: Marty Stewart

Scriptural References:(1 Thess. 4:13-17 & 5:4, Rev. 19:11-21, Acts 2:17-21, 1 Peter 4:7)

By the way the land is layin' / I think I'd be safe in sayin' / That over the next hill we'll be home / It's a straight and narrow highway / No detours / And no byways / And over the next hill / We'll be home ///

From the prophets / I've been hearin' / I would say the end is nearin' / For I see familiar landmarks all alone //

By the dreams that I've been dreamin' / There will come a great redeemin' / And over the next hill we'll be home //

By the turn the tide has taken / I would say there's no mistaken / That over the next hill we'll be home / There's a place that we are nearin' / That so many have been fearin' / And over the next hill we'll be home //

When we get there / We're all hopin' / That we'll find that the gate is open / And there be a refuge from the comin' storm / For the way has been long and weary / but at last the end is nearing / And over the next hill we'll be home //

The Mighty Clouds of Joy

The Mighty Clouds of Joy - Formed in 1955, and started recording in 1960, and have been going strong ever since, through "triumphs and tragedies, successes and near failures," becoming living legends in the process of serving Jesus Christ through their unique musical gifts, which have been showcased in their years of singing Gospel music, taking the genre "to places it seldom, if ever had been."

The original Mighty Clouds of Joy members were made up of members from three different Los Angeles Gospel groups. Today, the current membership is made up of two of the original group, Joe Ligon and Richard Wallace, plus Johnny Valentine, Ron Staples and Michael Cook, who have all been singing together for some time. All members of The Mighty Clouds of Joy have similar backgrounds, beliefs and attitudes concerning their faith and their musical efforts.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, their music has transcended and endured many musical trends, popular with our society. Another one of the well-loved characteristics of their music which added to and expanded their message is Joe Ligon's singing style, which was inspired by a radio preacher, Reverend C.L. Franklin, who had "this preaching kind of thing in his style. I did this preaching kind of thing in his style to go along with our singing. That was different from what anybody else was doing, and it became our trademark," Joe Ligon explains.

They were the first Gospel group to add bass, drums and keyboards to the traditional solo electrical guitar, commonly used by Gospel music. They also were the first to add a full rhythm section. In the 1970's, they had great success in adapting Gospel music sound in the popular disco dance genre. They were the first Gospel group to be invited onto the secular show, 'Soul Train,' where they performed their hit, 'Mighty High.' They continued to evolve in their presentation of their own unique style of Gospel music.

This changing, unique Gospel style music which they evolved, pioneered and created, was first called at one point, "funkified" Gospel, and has been gradually accepted as a standard part of Gospel music. Though their style of Gospel music was at first criticized by tradional Gospel music lovers, The Mighty Clouds of Joy found that their unique kind of innovative Gospel music reached out to a wider and wider audience, taking The Mighty Clouds of Joy and their Gospel message to performances in such places as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Astro Dome, on nearly every major T.V. show in America, including "The Grammy Awards." The Mighty Clouds of Joy have been nominated for 10 Grammy's and won 3.

* * * * WE SHALL OVERCOME - Traditional - Arranged by Mighty Clouds of Joy - It was Adapted by William Farley Smith for Methodist hymnal, in 1986. There are many verses to this song. Verses used depends on who is singing it.

We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome someday! / Oh, down in my heart / I do believe (I do believe ) / We shall overcome someday //

We will hold the line / We will hold the line / We will hold the line, someday! /Oh, down in my heart / I do believe (I do believe ) / We will hold the line some / day /

We will build a new world / We will build a new world, I know we will / We will build a new world someday /Oh, down in my heart / I do believe (I do believe ) / We will build a new world / day /

We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome some / day! / Oh, down in my heart / I do believe (I do believe ) / We shall overcome some / day /

We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome some / day! / Oh, down in my heart / I do believe (I do believe ) / We shall overcome some / day /

We shall overcome someday / We shall overcome someday /

Reviewed by Julie Carr - for ChristianMusic.com

Sources include:
CD, Materials and Photos sent to us by John Carter Cash < johncartercash.com > And
Misty N. Hurt / Splash! Public Relations, 1520 16th Ave. S., #2, Nashville, TN 37212.

The United Methodist Hymnal, pg. 522, 533, The United Methodist Publishing House, Nashville,1989

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